labelleizzy: (Default)
I am sorry that it took me this long to recognize how patient you were with me, and how hard you tried to trust me and to let me be a part of your lives. I'm sorry that it didn't work out for us to continue being friends. Despite the pain we ended up causing each other, there was some good stuff there that I miss. But we really had so many communication problems that I really think it was for the best to end things and cut contact.

I don't want to see you or talk to either of you anymore, because we both broke each other's trust in the process of progressive miscommunication. And I don't spend more time than I have to anymore with people who I can't trust not to hurt me.

I wish you as well with your lives as is possible under the circumstances, and may you not break trust again as you broke mine; may I never break another's trust again as I broke yours.
labelleizzy: (Default)
Having this broken hand , has been a whole exercise in how to put up with doing things imperfectly. (she says as she edits the post)

Dictation at the moment, speech-to-text, it's one of the accommodations I started using pretty early on in the healing process after breaking the base of my pinky and top off of my radius my right hand , on New Year's Eve. Doing things imperfectly doesn't come easy to me. More prone to refusing to try to do something. I'm more likely to give up easy after trying to do something if it doesn't come easy. One positive thing for me about the ADHD: learning that that's a trait! it's a thing about the way that this kind of brain works.

But actually I was swimming (wtf? not even close to what I said) to post about this today because had a lovely visit with Allison and Fritz , including a delicious dinner, a seriously delicious dinner. But something about walking into their house today for some reason gave me an insight into something new that I needed to do for my hand? I suddenly flashed on there was a new place to try to massage and stretch that I hadn't tried before.

Maybe this has to do somehow with Alison being a massage therapist but anyway I found some incredibly painful and Incredibly needed places in between my fingers to massage right at the point where the fingers' flesh joins each other to become the hand and had a breakthrough! (sudden breakup/breakdown of incredibly tight fascia according to Alison.)

I woke up a little while ago or half woke up cuz it's quarter to 5 in the morning right now, full moon is still out and shining through the bedroom window, I woke myself up massaging my hand again and doing Hand Therapy again. It feels different now, than it did yesterday because of the work I was figuring out how to do today and then Allison worked on my hand a little bit too which also helped and she had a heating kind of massage oil which seems to be very effective so high hopes for the flexibility in the healing of my hand and arm to maybe we've turned up what do they call it maybe I've turned a corner? I think that's the right turn of phrase so I just wanted to get up, empty my brain for a minute, and I'm going to have to edit this later because speech to text never works perfectly.

Hopefully I'll be able to go get some more sleep now. And forgive all the weird word choices from this very very stream of consciousness post. And wish me well with my hand? Suddenly feeling much less angra vated (wtf speech to text that's not even a word?) AGGRAVATED with it and the long long time it has been taking to heal.

thanks for listening.
labelleizzy: (bunny writer)
I never used to think of myself as an artist, which is funny and sad on a number of levels. I had this image of myself as a fuckup, someone who does stuff half-assed, has trouble with completing projects, and I wouldn't let myself justify costuming or calligraphy or writing as "artistic". I'm almost entirely self-taught in those realms, which was part of the problem.

Finally I decided I could call myself an artist once I'd become a part of the Waldorf teaching tradition. My program follows one of Steiner's precepts, that the Teacher as Artist is a goal to strive toward. And it's made clear that the artistic technique is not just meant for the Art of Teaching, though it's a part. I struggled hard to make my work "artistic" as my teachers requested, characterizing rather than defining, showing the gesture or direction of an idea rather than delineating it.

I also struggled with comparing myself to my classmates. I have always been an enthusiastic maker of images, but I had never had much instruction with regard to technique, while half my classmates produced what seemed like masterworks in comparison to my own clumsy efforts.

The first teacher training art class I felt at home at, wasn't even an *art* class.
The second half of the High School Mathematics curriculum taught to the Waldorf Teachers-in-training is Geometry, including the artistic component of Geometric Drawings.
There is a real peace in learning how to be precise. We were explicitly taught the steps and stages for any geometric construction. Bless Patrick for a meticulous teacher, breaking down the techniques with ease and clarity, having us practice until we understood.

24PointConnection GeomDrawing
(image of a 24-point geometric web)

Once I began the process of drawing a geometric figure, I found myself in this incredibly clear-headed space. Like a life-long weight of self-judgment had lifted. Liberating!
I can't even really explain how it felt, what it did to my head, to my sense of self, to be able to grok clearly and completely how to construct this precise and beautiful thing.

flowery fun with geometry
(image titled "Flowery fun with geometry" using many interlocking circles and colors and shading to create a flower shape.)

Being able to create these complex and meticulous drawings sent me into a very Zen space. My head quieted, my focus narrowed, and all there was in the world was me, my hands, the paper, tools, and pencil. Completely "in the Zone", completely in flow-state, I very rarely wanted to stop or even pause in the process. It seemed *easy*, and was definitely FUN.

I had a paradigm shift. No longer could I tell myself "it's too hard, I can't do that, too complicated, too detailed, I'm not ____..." where ___ could be anything from "that kind of artist" or "precise" or "clever like that" or "skilled like that" or even the base canard, "good enough". Those evil little brainweasel voices couldn't be heard over the all-consuming focus on the process of construction, the flow that somehow seemed so easy in such an unexpected place after so long striving after it.

SimpleGeomFlowrWNotes
(image titled "simple geometric flower with notes", seven interlocking circles filled in with blue, pink and green.)

Why am I not doing geometric drawing all the time? It's lovely, it's satisfying, and there are thousands of possible projects to practice.
Why NOT do a thing I enjoy, and that brings me peace? Why NOT enjoy exploring my skills, expanding my image of myself to include calm precision and creation of beauty?

Every day we grow and change. We all transform ourselves into new people, a little at a time. Sometimes the transformation is consciously done, sometimes simple passage of time creates the transformation without us thinking much about what we're growing into, what we're becoming.

If the time will pass regardless, why NOT be intentional about what you choose to do with your transformation?

I wanna get GOOD at the art. And I know it doesn't just happen, I know I have to work at it. I have to LET myself get good at it. I have to be willing to fail and to suck and to throw stuff away sometimes. I have to go GET what I need to get better, I have to take lessons, write scripts for comics, watch YouTube instructional videos, practice little chibi drawings, start doodling on my tablet computer, and with the watercolor paints, and just allow myself to practice and experiment.

And I have to remember that nothing worth having is birthed all of a sudden.

ComplexGeomFlowr1
(image titled "Complex Geometrical Flower stage 1", initial shading and coloring)

Art in particular is part of a slow and steady process, a conversation between me and the paper, or the clay, or the paint or fabric or the computer screen.

complexGeomFlowr2
(image titled "Complex Geometrical Flower stage 2", intermediate stage of shading and coloring)

Art for art's sake is fine, I think it's a worthy goal just to bring more beauty into the world, to provoke conversation or thought or change. Art has the ability to wake people up to something they may be unaware of in the world.

complexGeomFlowr3
(image titled "Complex Geometrical Flower stage 3", completed shading and coloring)

Art can serve an even higher purpose though. Art can bring a chance for transformation and healing, rest and respite, community and peace.
All of these are things that the artistic process has taught me, has brought to me.

This, this making things, making art, changing one thing into another thing by channeling ideas and images THROUGH ME, this is one way I can contribute to the world.
And to make this contribution, means that I can give myself permission to learn these skills properly, to practice the crafts that I love: writing, art, communication, teaching, healing. I can give myself permission to practice them until I am properly good at those skills and can then use them out in the world to the end result of community and healing.

There's so much pain in the world and not nearly enough beauty. Too much loneliness and not nearly enough love, compassion, and beauty.

I can do this. I can remember, and use as fuel for the work, the fact that the things I HAVEN'T done are the things I have most regretted.

Face the Fear and Do It Anyway.
labelleizzy: (make things!)
wow. a solid night's sleep and two solid meals (well, and menstrual cramps becoming manageable) make a lot of difference in my mood!

I know what I want to do:

I want to MAKE STUFF.

I am happy when I Make Stuff, when I manifest new things in the world that have never been there before.
I don't want to read someone else's script, I want to write my own.
I finished a piece of art last night; it was so joyful to bring it to completion!

I wrote music to set a nonsense poem to; it will be wonderful fun to teach to the girls!

I made a garden! I planted rosebushes where they weren't before!

I want to make stuff. Moreover, I want to make stuff be BETTER, also.

It's a good wide umbrella. I can teach, I can priest, I can be an activist, I can build community, I can make more art. I can do a lot of the things I love doing and need to do, and I don't need to hang a job-description around my neck for other people.

I am a Maker.

*satisfied*

Now to find a gig where I can DO that...
labelleizzy: (creating yourself)
I used to feel like I was only of service to the world when I was doing something useful for other people.
I have been uncomfortable about and procrastinated on tasks that were "only" useful to me or that took care of me only, whether physically, emotionally or spiritually.

I'm learning how to value taking care of myself, getting water, good food, exercise, and enough social or spiritual time to nourish myself and keep from feeling lonely.

Has this been true in your life? or if someone you love acts like this, can I get an AMEN?
labelleizzy: (just write)
I'm doing Artist's Pages, or trying to, in the mornings. The designer, Julia Cameron, insists that the benefit of doing them, consists largely in doing them handwritten. That is how you sweep the braindust out, she says, and has anecdotal stories to back her.

I'm growing more inclined to believe her, both from my own practice and from my extended experience of writing my Waldorf classroom-and-student observation paper, entirely by hand. And letting it lie fallow for days at a go, as I had always heard rumor was effective. (nemmind that necessity-invention's-mom had always insisted that I write all my college papers at the last minute, until now I have never been able to finish a paper early and then set it aside and leave it...)

This paper seems to have assembled itself in my subconscious. I refer to my notes, the second draft of fully written sentences drawn out from initial cryptic classroom notes...

And I can just feel how the words and sentences want to go together. Even if they were pages apart on my first draft. Just writing them, they assemble themselves. word leads to word, sentence to sentence, growing organically, building a progression like a jazz riff.

It's truly remarkable. I cannot recall ever before feeling this ease of assembly. I don't know if it's an effect of all the Waldorf classes I have been taking, if it's the newfound confidence and clarity from my recovery work, if it's the fact that I write so damn much HERE on LiveJournal that I just have become a better intuitive writer, or what.

But I can feel the organic nature of the process. I've never looked FORWARD to writing a paper for class like I have done this one tonight. I'm ready. It will be lovely. I have illustrated title pages for each section, drawn myself, and I'm handwriting it with my cartridge calligraphy pen, in purple. I never before had teachers who told me I could, I should make, my homework beautiful. And this time, they have, and I believed them that I was able to do so, and I think it will be beautiful. I can't wait to see it once it's done!

*happy dance!*

My 15 minute break is nearly over, I am hoping to be done by midnight so I can try to get a solid night's sleep before substitute teaching girls' PE tomorrow. Short commute, blessed be.
labelleizzy: (Default)
I forget if I've mentioned this before, but I'm remembering again something I've been learning and been having driven home lately.

There are somethings I learn fast. Facts, new words, stuff I read, individual items that can be hooked into my trivia-brain or easily attached to prior knowledge in a chain or network...

However. Yes, however much I have in the past prided myself on my ability to learn, and learn quickly, there are MANY THINGS THAT HAVE TO BE LEARNED SLOWLY AND GRADUALLY. New physical skills (bicycling, yoga, taekwondo, and remember fencing? yeah.). New thinking and concentration skills. New musical skills (yes, those in particular) MUST BE PRACTICED so they STAY.
Practiced SLOWLY AND GRADUALLY, Elizabeth, yes, you have to practice, yes, regularly, yes, it has to be a habit, yes you can do it, you need to develop the positive habits. *pats self on shoulder* You've done it before, remember how good that felt? Go find that feeling again.

Also, there are many things that cannot be simply done ONCE and then you're DONE with them.
*sigh*
No matter how many times I wash the pans that are sitting in the sink, there will be more.
Ditto laundry, ditto sweeping the floor, ditto taking out the trash, scooping the litterboxes...
Yeah, I KNOW you just DID them, they need to be done AGAIN.
*rubs eyes wearily*

Again, with regular habits built a bit at a time, huge stuff can get done. Make your habits your servants... I think that's a Franklin-Covey philosophy or quote, Habit is an excellent servant but a poor master...

*goes to look up the quote*
labelleizzy: (iamtheteacher)
[livejournal.com profile] fools_and_irish challenged those of us in education to talk about what we would do to improve the education system as it currently exists in California/USA.

I have one thing to say to that: train the teachers better.

  • Give teachers concrete skills and a chance to practice them under supervision until they have attained mastery - AS LONG AS IT TAKES for them to attain mastery.
  • Train teachers in the social skills-of-connection with kids, because kids are looking to like and love their teacher, if you give them a chance. They also learn best when they like their teacher.
  • Make sure each teacher has enough mastery of his/her subject that they can give lectures and develop lessons without having to copy from someone else or from a book or website. A teacher who doesn't know their stuff can't foster the trust of the students - they know something is fake about that teacher, and the learning situation goes south.
  • Correlation to the previous point - for the Gods' Sake, DO NOT PLACE SOMEONE IN A ROOM JUST TO HAVE A BODY IN THAT ROOM. Have a qualified confident teacher teaching that subject. Some principals and some personnel offices get so desperate for teachers they put whoever in, and as [livejournal.com profile] shipoffools999 so gracefully put it, it's like they throw the fledgling in the room with the students, close the door, and pray for a good outcome.


Another thing I have to say to that: TREAT the teachers better.

  • Half an hour lunch? You're kidding me, right?
  • Healthy food on campus.
  • Frequent chances to network/collaborate with peers. And either feed us or give us paid release time.
  • No Stupid Inservices. If you need to educate us on some particular topic, don't shove all of us into the library and have someone lecturing us. Teachers bring tests to grade to those things, and tune out. If it's important enough to train us, it's important enough to do it RIGHT, or to optimize our time. Small group work. Online material and tests to make sure we absorbed what we are supposed to know. We're professionals, treat us like that. Save the cattle calls for pep-rally teambuilding efforts. Boring inservices are INSULTING.
  • ** Encourage continuing ed, ON CAMPUS. Each one teach one, right? If each teacher WAS PAID and taught an after school class once or twice a month in their specialty, FOR OTHER TEACHERS, you'd network out, teachers would be less isolated, we'd have more fun, more loyalty, less stress, and duh, we'd learn something. Why do you THINK we're working IN EDUCATION?? I would totally have gone to a modern dance class taught by Kelly C., or a history class by Thatcher P., or an art class by Barbara B., math class with Mr. S., weightlifting with Cesar O. (and not just cos he was cute!), and I would gladly have taught a class on pantomime, improv, stage makeup, and we woulda had FUN!!! Teachers are LEARNERS. Work with that. Build on that.
  • ** Each school should have at least one full time substitute teacher on staff. You could apply to have that sub cover you for the morning while you went to the dentist, catch your 6th period if your kid needed picked up from the other school cos she was puking, you could apply to have help (if the sub wasn't otherwise engaged) to do research, help decorate your room, help you organize your paperwork and lessons or help you grade papers or record grades. Teaching is often damn LONELY. MITIGATE that. We are all social creatures, few people really like sitting or working alone in their room. The morale improvement ALONE would be TREMENDOUS.


I know I have more ideas but these are the ones that brew in my brain.
To sum up:

Give teachers RESPECT
Help teachers LEARN
Make teachers CONFIDENT
Remember teachers are ARTISTS and PROFESSIONALS. (Treat em like it!)
Let teachers have PRIDE and help us to BUILD COMMUNITY.

Here endeth the lesson.

HEREis Carolyn's contribution.

Logos

Jul. 9th, 2003 12:01 am
labelleizzy: (turian)
Isn't it amazing how one word, one concept, can change the way you see the world?
Sometimes, forever.

Sometimes the word is FEAR.
or PAIN.
or DEATH.

But sometimes the word is JOY.
or LOVE.

I love the whole world, right now.

I am the Ace of Cups, filled to overflowing.

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